No longer can people enjoy a day without technology in their hand or on their lap. No longer can people go to a concert and enjoy it without taking photos at the show. No longer can we enjoy a special moment without ruining it with a camera. No longer are we as intimate as we once were.
Social media has pushed traditional ways of communicating out the window, no more letters or phone calls. Nowadays NZ media statistics shows that;
• 96% of NZ internet users are active on social media
• 27% of NZ social media users access through smartphones
• 79% of New Zealanders like Facebook, 16% for LinkedIn, 9% for Twitter
• 2,102,080 New Zealanders are on Facebook (44% males VS. 56% females).
• More than 199,800 Twitter accounts in NZ
Technology in general has slowly taken control of us. Phones. Laptops. Facebook. Instagram. Snapchat. Twitter. Businesses now promote themselves online. YouTube has made normal teenagers boost to stardom. People can sell clothes via Facebook, and find accomodation. So there are positives to social media right? Facebook reunites us with friends and family who live in different continents. But perhaps there is more to it than logging on to check your status or the dreary gossip and pointless chatter on the homepage. Could it be an addiction? A way to shy away from reality?
I saw a video on Facebook that inspired me to write this, ironically enough, about Facebook not been a social network, but an anti-social network. The video is by Prince Ea, an artist and rapper who captures anyones attention with his voice and words. Yes he did have to promote this video via social media, but he raises an important point. He tells the audience that instead of friendships and real life interactions with loved ones, self-worth has become measured by the number of online likes and followers one can attain;
“So many ‘I’s, so many ‘selfies,’ not enough ‘U’s and ‘We’s”
Selfies, selfies, selfies. Girls especially get all worked up if they see a photo posted of them that they don’t like. They prefer the perfect pose, the edit, their own upload of a selfie. To show they’ve achieved something, or because they’re yearning for some attention and love. They want their cyber world to tell them they look nice today, that their lipstick is right on point. I am guilty of having posted more than enough selfies in the past. I realized I needed to stop and do better things with my time, and that I didn’t need to update my status 24/7 like I did back in 2010. Oh dear. That’s how it goes doesn’t it. Facebook asks you, what is on your mind, how do you feel. We’re so used to using emoticons to describe how we feel that we’ve forgotten what it feels like to cry, to hurt, without posting about it. Chats have been reduced to Snapchats. Personal problems are framed on Instagram. Some things should be kept private, yet we live in a world where nothing is private anymore. Declarations of love don’t need to be splattered all over the homepage, keep it between you and your partner, or save it for the bedroom.
Moving on from selfies, and FDA (Facebook Displays of Affection) I shall now bring up the subject of friends on Facebook. In the past when I had 1000 friends on Facebook I felt like I had achieved something, yet I knew hardly any of these people. I have deleted almost 500 of those people since then. Because if you aren’t friends in real life, what is the point of been friends online? Wishing someone a happy birthday online has turned into a chore, instead of a suprise. Stalking people online instead of interacting with them has become a common trend. Whatever happened to courage and saying hello in person? Plus the amount of fights that happen on Facebook have caused many people to leave the page. Relationship drama should be sorted out in person. Please.
I remember when I was younger I would sit on the computer for hours, and would have a tantrum or something if my sister said it was her turn on the computer. How sad. Today I’m on Facebook less and less, because it’s just so boring. When I am online, I wonder how looking at these screens affects us as individuals. Prince Ea says in his video that the present-day average adult currently has an attention span one second less than that of a goldfish.
No wonder no one can pay attention in class, or stay focused on one thing. I see students in class all the time on their laptops “taking notes” in other words they’re on Facebook. Plus I have the worst attention span, maybe I should swim away from technology for awhile. It is easier said than done. Darn you social media.
Social media is said to build a community of networks, encouraging participation and engagement. However, humans as usual have abused the system. We don’t know when to stop, to have a break and a Kit Kat. I love the line in the video where Prince Ea hopes that one day we’ll smile when we see that we have low batteries. Because it will bring us one bar closer to humanity. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been pretty persuaded to change my ways. I suppose it is a bit hypocritcal to say this, because I’m always on my laptop. Writing on my blog, doing Uni work. And I’m currently addicted to browsing for clothes online.
My phone is my alarm, clock, calendar, it has my memo’s for the day. It has all my important contacts. So it’s hard not to have it glued to my hand all the time. I guess it is true that these touch screens often make us lose touch, and that even when we’re in the same room as someone, our phones are the centre of our attention. So maybe it’s a good thing that my phone keeps turning off by itself. After all we spend four years looking down at our phones. Probably a few more years are spent on Facebook all together. Kind of scary.
I can’t remember what it was like when I didn’t have a cellphone. I can’t remember the last time I went more than a day without checking Facebook. Funny how we blame Facebook, or whatever website for failed grades and distractions. Or for the TV shows for keeping us up late. It’s my choice if I want to watch Friends at 1am. So the only person to blame is me. No wonder I can’t sleep, all these screens crowding up my vision, disracting my sleep pattern. Hopefully I will have the power to say no. Nanna naps are a great way to fix a headache from looking at to many screens. Or making a snack, yummy.
I know that social media helps people boost their fashion line, their tattoos, their writing, and get things done easily and fast. It helps people stay in touch with one another. I guess I just want to see what life would be like if it wasn’t so dominant in my life. So now I will try to limit myself and put the phone or laptop down. Now I will enjoy a show and be there in the moment. Now I want to actually enjoy life instead of feeling the need to post about it. I want to capture smiles in person rather than in a photo. I want to not let technology control me. I won’t be smashing my phone into pieces or getting rid of my accounts. I just want to step back for a moment and get back in touch with people. Cyber world can come second, the real world can come first. Its your choice what you do. Just remember life happens outside, where the birds sing and the sun shines, not on a computer.